Despite a disastrous room air season, factory shipments of major appliances will end the year with a reasonable 3.6-percent increase over 2003 according to industry projections, although wholesale sales are expected to retrench in 2005 with modest gains of only 1.7 percent.
That's the outlook of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), as reported in the trade group's recently updated Trends and Forecasts report, based on projections by member vendors.
According to AHAM's figures, total industry shipments should reach 76.3 million units this year, which will bring sales gains in line with white goods' historical average annual increases of about 4 percent. But manufacturers anticipate that that momentum will taper off by 2005, when shipments will grow to just 77.6 million units.
On a category basis, kitchen cleanup will enjoy the biggest hike this year, with unit shipments up 6.2 percent over 2003 to some 12.8 million dishwashers and garbage disposers. However, the sector's growth will fall to third place in 2005, manufacturers predict, when total factory shipments grow a mere 0.7 percent to 13.7 million units.
The second largest percentage gains in 2004 will be realized by the home laundry category, which will spike 5.5 percent to 16.3 million washers and dryers by year's end. But that momentum will wane in 2005, when laundry shipments are expected to grow just 1.7 percent, representing wholesale sales of 16.6 million units.
Also enjoying respectable increases this year is the cooking category, the third largest gainer, which AHAM says will grow 4.7 percent to 24.4 million ranges, cooktops and microwave ovens. Although sales growth will slow in 2005, the 3.4-percent uptick to 25.3 million units will represent the steepest spike of any category in 2005.
Meanwhile, the pace of growth within the mainstay food preservation category will match industry totals of 3.6 percent, representing shipments of 13 million refrigerators and freezers. Sales will only grow an additional 1.8 percent in 2005, vendors predict, to 13.3 million units.
Trailing the white goods gang is home comfort, which fell 5.8 percent to 9 million ACs and dehumidifiers, reflecting the unusually cool, wet summer in much of room air's prime markets. Manufacturers anticipate that the rate of decline will taper off in 2005, when shipments will fall 1.9 percent to 8.8 million units.
Shipments of the bellwether AHAM 6, a composite category combining the core laundry, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer and range sectors, will grow 5.4 percent this year to 44.8 million units, but will retrench in 2005 with gains of only 1.6 percent to 45.5 million units.
Trends and Forecasts
Industry Shipments of Major Appliances*
(In Thousands of Units)